Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Mamata Banerjee as PM candidate

Ram Jethmalani on Sunday 18/3/2018 called for formation of a third front led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to “oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi” in the next Lok Sabha elections.

Both Congress and BJP governments have been deliberately apathetic to recovery of black money stashed in “Germany and other countries”, Jethmalani said, speaking to reporters at Indore.

“They have committed a joint crime of cheating people. Therefore, a third front of honest leaders is needed.”

“I want Mamata Banerjee to lead the third front to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the next general elections. Mamata has the ability to be the prime minister.”

Ram Jethmalani was once a Modi supporter. He expected Modi to recover black money from foreign countries. That did not happen. He turned against Modi.

Ram Jethmalani criticised Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the NDA government over their policy on black money. The NDA government has no right to stay in power, he said.

Ram Jethmalani wants Modi to run out of India and Jaitley in jail.

Jethmalani had written a letter to Arun Shourie, Shatrughan Sinha and Yashwant Sinha, who had reached out to Jethmalani in their fight against Narendra Modi that he has now thrown his weight behind Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, whom he described as his “selected heroine as the ruler of Indian democracy”.

BJP had expelled Jethmalani. Jethmalani was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar on an RJD ticket for the sixth time in 2016.

“I am sorry I have thrown my lot and talent at the total disposal of Mamata Banerjee and she has responded beautifully to my gesture and spoken out bravely that she would destroy the present BJP regime…I write this to make the lady of Bengal who is my selected heroine as the ruler of Indian democracy,” Jethmalani, who was expelled from the BJP in 2013, said.

Mamata Banerjee has prime ministerial ambitions like many other politicians. TMC does not have much presence outside West Bengal. Becoming PM is possible if she leads a coalition successfully or emerges leader of a coalition after elections. KCR wants a non-BJP, non-Congress Front. His TRS is a state party. It does not have presence outside Telangana. Mamata Banerjee has to decide whether she wants to be part of a coalition with Congress. Many parties like AIADMK and BJD are likely to go alone during Lok Sabha elections.

Interestingly it was Mamata Banerjee’s agitation against Tata Nano Plant in Singur that led to rise of Narendra Modi. He welcomed Ratan Tata to Gujarat and Tata Nano Plant came up in Sanand. Soon businessmen supported Modi as PM candidate. Mamata’s TMC won West Bengal Legislative Assembly elections and dislodged Left Front after 34 years. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections BJP won 282 seats and its allies won around 50 seats. TMC’s 34 seats did not make a difference.

BJP loses Gorakhpur

A week is a long time in politics.
Congress won two Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan which BJP had won in 2014 and held on to its two Legislative Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh. BJP was disappointed. Congress was jubilant.
Then came state elections in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura. BJP wrested Tripura from CPI(M) and formed governments in Meghalaya and Nagaland. BJP was jubilant. Congress, CPI(M) and some other parties were disappointed.
On 14/3/2018 results of Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Araria Lok Sabha constituencies and Bhabua and Jehanabad constituencies were out. SP won in Gorakhpur and Phulpur. RJD won Araria and Jehanabad. BJP won Bhabua.
It is SP victory in Gorakhpur that is significant. SP candidate Pravin Kumar Nishad won the seat by 21,916 votes. Yogi Adityanath had held Gorakhpur seat five times in succession. Before that it was held by Mahant Avaidyanath thrice in succession. Yogi Adityanath becoming UP CM had necessitated by-election in Gorkhpur and Keshav Prasad Maurya becoming Deputy CM had necessitated by-election in Phulpur.
Till six months back BJP was sure of winning 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Loss in Gorakhpur has put a question mark over that. In 2014 BJP had 282 Lok Sabha seats, Congress 44, SP 5. Now BJP has 274, Congress 48, SP 7. Modi’s dream of Congress-Free India is more difficult now.
Various reasons are given for BJP’s defeat. BSP supported SP. That made a difference. BJP candidate Upendra Shukla was not from Gorakhnath temple. It is difficult to say whether that made any difference. Children deaths in BRD Medical College is a reason. Yogi Adityanath said BJP was overconfident.
UP has 80 Lok Sabha seats. BJP had won 71 seats in 2014. Its ally Apna Desh had won 2 seats. SP got 5, Congress 2. UP was the reason BJP got a majority of its own in 2014. Now that majority is reduced to 2 seats.
Gorakhpur defeat is a blow to Yogi Adityanath and people who saw him as an alternative to Narendra Modi. Some days back Aaj Tak/India Today journalist had held a Twitter poll asking people to choose between Modi and Yogi as preferred PM candidate.
Alliance of opposition parties can damage BJP. More damage to BJP is by its acts of commission and omission. Nirav Modi defrauding PNB has damaged BJP. Blaming Congress has not worked. Courts have acquitted all accused in 2G case and telephone exchange case. Soldiers continue to die in Kashmir. CRPF jawans continue to die in Naxal areas. Modi government has shown weakness by asking government officials not to attend programmes commemorating 60 years of Tibetan exile. Nepal and Maldives do not care about India. BJP wants to promote vegetarianism and yoga and wants to rewrite history. Gorakhpur loss has shown no seat is safe for BJP. If BJP does not improve, people can throw BJP to dust bin of history. People don’t want BJP jokers to tell that Taj Mahal and Red Fort were built by Hindu rulers.

CBCI Statement 2018

CBCI held its biannual General Body Meeting on 2-9 February 2018 at St. John’s Medical College Campus and issued a statement.
The statement mentions nation-building. Nation-building is not the job of bishops.
There have been attacks on Christian institutions and communities before. Christians should be able to defend themselves.
The statement mentions “Human life of every individual person in our beloved motherland needs to be valued and defended.” Bishops are wrong on that. Those who commit murders and other high crimes should be executed. It is a tragedy that rapists and murderers of Jyoti Singh Pandey are still alive. They should have been hanged long back. So are many other criminals. Criminals laugh. Victims cry. Some victims commit suicide. The maximum penalty is death by hanging. We should change the law so that criminals like rapists and murderers of Jyoti Singh Pandey are drawn, disembowelled, entrails burnt, hanged, beheaded and quartered.
It is foolish to show mercy to evil persons. Showing mercy to criminals is unfair to victims.
Jesus Christ did not show mercy to merchants and money changers at the Temple. St. Peter did not show mercy to Ananias and Saphira.
Works of charity are different from works of mercy. Mother Teresa was a Missionary of Charity, not a Missionary of Mercy.
Strange is the call of CBCI to establish a truly secular, socialist and democratic nation as is enshrined in the Constitution of India. The Constitution did not have the words secular and socialist in its preamble when it was adopted on 26 November 1949. The words were added by 42nd amendment in 1976. Freedom of Religion will be under attack if the country becomes truly secular. Christians will face problems. Socialism has resulted in poor becoming poorer.
What is the use of dialogue across religious boundaries? Both sides will continue to hold the same positions they held before.
Ecumenism can serve limited purpose. Differences between Catholics and Protestants are deep. Differences between Catholics and Orthodox are many. Orthodox do not have dogma of Immaculate Conception. They do not believe in purgatory.
There is talk of empowerment of Dalits, Tribal, Other Backward Classes and relief and welfare of farmers, fisher folk, migrants and other deprived and exploited communities. Jesus Christ said “Seek you first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Ecology is separate from Christianity and spirituality.
No need to worry about plight of criminals in prison. Worry about the plight of victims.
CBCI wants to ensure transparency in all spheres of Church’s administration. Cardinal George Alencherry, Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly is accused of corruption in a land deal, by priests and lay people. There are complaints to pope and police.
The theme of the meeting was “United in Diversity for a Mission of Mercy and Witness: ‘I am with you always, to the end of the age’.” (Mt 28:20). The statement talks of evangelisation and quotes Evangelii Nuntiandi and Evangelii Gaudium but does not mention the relevant verse: “Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Mt 28:19).

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